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Failure is part of life; from there we learn and from there we become stronger. Babies seem to be very clear about it: they stay permanently focused on their goal, they work hard to achieve it, they continually challenge obstacles, they are persistent (they keep trying over and over no matter how many times they fail); tireless fighters, they don't stop until they get it and then… a new goal appears and the cycle repeats itself… and in just one year so many things happen! If it were not that way, a baby would never be able to crawl, walk or talk, for example.
Unfortunately as we grow older we seem to lose that wonderful ability to face failure and keep trying to ignore the frustration it generates in us. We soon realize that there are wonderful beings who are willing to do anything to help us achieve what we want, trying so that we do not have to try too hard or deal for a long time with the negative emotions that defeat brings us. How do we teach our son that he should continue to bet on effort? We tell you how to teach children not to give up.
Then suddenly that invincible baby he becomes a child who resists getting back on the bike after the first fall. Obviously there are many variables that influence our way of facing failure as we grow as our own temperament, our experiences and especially the way our parents, teachers of life, encourage us in those moments to keep trying or comfort us and they change the activity for something less challenging.
Following, some tips to help our children get back to being those tireless babies who were not so easily defeated:
1. Let him do things for himself: It is important to stay close and encourage them to do things that cause fear or uncertainty for the first time. Let them think, devise and solve the situations that are possible on their own, try not to overprotect them or save them effort. The more problems they have to solve and the new situations they face, the better achievement skills and tolerance for frustration they will develop.
2. Teach them by example: If we have difficulty managing our emotions in the face of failure, we get terribly frustrated when something does not go as expected and we abandon the goal, that will be the pattern that our children will follow no matter how much we try to explain otherwise. They learn from our example, not just from our words.
3. Help him develop his "tolerance for effort": It is important to help them understand the relationship between effort and good results. When it comes to an ambitious goal, help him reach it through small goals that are realistic and that will give him confidence. Encourage him to continue, even if he has failed, and celebrate small triumphs with him.
4. Teach him to discover the lessons of failure: When he is frustrated or sad that something did not turn out as expected, help him discover the little lessons this attempt left him. For example, if he had a poor grade on a test, help him analyze the kinds of mistakes he made and see this as something that will help him a lot next time.
5. Let him get frustrated: Although we hate seeing our children sad or angry, we should not give in to all their wishes. This only makes your reaction to a similar situation more intense the next time and your frustration greater.
6. Help him see failures differently: If since they are little we make them see through stories, anecdotes and their own experiences that it is "normal" to be wrong, that in order to do something difficult you have to walk a path and make a series of attempts from which you learn, We will help them to have a much better way to face failure and persevere. If he tells us crying "I can't", we should calmly answer him that this time it has not gone well (and he may have to try many more), that it is normal and he should be patient, but that if he keeps trying soon he will succeed.
There are many stories that can help us to illustrate to our children how that failure is part of life and how we should face it. We could start by showing them their baby photos and telling them their own story!
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